THE ELUblVi; IXDIAX 1&
The light is growing fainter and fainter, and it would seem
that with it is fading our chance of meeting the "Indian" whom we
But perhaps we are bemused by numbers.; perhaps tho roar of
the millions is drowning the voice of the individual ?
Let us therefore try a different method of approach ; let us begin
at the other end with India's smallest community, the Parsees.
There are less than 90 thousand of them, and of these, nearly half
are settled in Bombay. The world at large knows little of the lives
led by the Parsees ; it has been too busy concentrating its attention
• on the manner of their deaths. For it is the Parsees, the followers
of the prophet Zoroaster, who carry their dead to the Towers of
Silence, there to be devoured by the awaiting vultures. It is a
dramatic way of leaving the world and—on first thoughts—a
rather horrible one. But at least it is clean and uncompromising,
if you really believe that the spirit is all and the flesh nothing.
And ifc is the last gesture of charity which a man can moke to the
earth that has nourished him—to give his body to the fowls of the
air, who, after all, are also God's creatures.
However, this is not a book of the dead but of the living, and
if we judge them by the achievements of their lives the Parsees
immediately assume a position of importance on the Indian
scene, out of all proportion to their numbers. And* with this
thought, our hopes rise again, for if we are seeking 'Indians' we
should surely find them now.
Wherever there arc riches in India you will find the Parsees—
not, let us hasten to add, in the role of vultures but playing a
dynamic part in the creation of wealth. To give only one example :
the vast network of Tata industries is entirely Parsee, in con-
ception, in execution, and in present-day direction. The firm of
Tata's is industrial India. Its steel works at Jamshedpur, employ-
ing 30,000 people, are the largest steel works in the British
Empire. Its hydro-electric system, with a capacity of 250,000
horse-power, is the largest unit in the country. Its aircraft
industry, in a few years time, may challenge the biggest combines
of the Wc^t. Tata's make everything, from gliders to golliwogs,.